Northern California Coastal & Inland Valleys
Remove Standing Water
Eliminate sources of standing water to reduce future mosquito populations. Plant saucers, empty containers, tires, unused pet food dishes, and wheel barrows are all places where water can collect unnoticed. Mosquitoes can breed in as little as one-half cup of water and are responsible for such noxious diseases as West Nile virus.
If you see caterpillars dangling from webs on your oak trees, don't spray immediately. Birds rely on this valuable source of protein to feed their hatchlings. If you suspect an infestation, spray with Bt.
Deep Water Trees and Lawns
Water trees and lawns deeply but infrequently to promote deep root growth. Deep watering encourages roots to follow since roots only grow where the soil is moist. Use soaker hoses and mulch to prevent moisture loss due to evaporation.
Tomatoes are vines and will sprawl everywhere unless guided. Use tomato cages, trellises, or lattice to train tomatoes to grow up instead of horizontally. Fruit is susceptible to rot if it comes in contact with damp soil. It also falls prey to slugs and ground dwelling rodents.
Use Compost Tea to Prevent Disease
Use a foliar spray made from compost to deter plant diseases. The tea introduces beneficial organisms to the plant surface that will combat many fungal diseases. To make your own compost tea, place one scoop of compost in an old sock or panty hose leg, then soak it in a bucket of water for 24 hours. The resulting "soup" will be filled with beneficial organisms.